Ancient Monuments

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Huntsham Castle

A Scheduled Monument in Huntsham, Devon

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Latitude: 50.9512 / 50°57'4"N

Longitude: -3.4377 / 3°26'15"W

OS Eastings: 299105.419996

OS Northings: 117851.86462

OS Grid: SS991178

Mapcode National: GBR LL.N6XF

Mapcode Global: FRA 36PL.GK8

Entry Name: Huntsham Castle

Scheduled Date: 20 January 1953

Last Amended: 9 February 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019539

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34253

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Huntsham

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Chevithorne St Thomas

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


The monument includes a slight univallate hillfort situated on a prominent
hill overlooking the valleys of two separate tributaries to the River Lowman.
The monument survives as a sub-circular enclosure, defining an area which
slopes gently down to the south and measures approximately 150m in diameter.
It is clearly demarcated on all sides by a rampart which varies in height from
1m up to 2.4m internally, being generally of greater height on the northern
side of the enclosure. Externally this rampart is up to 2.9m high. Surrounding
the rampart is an outer ditch which measures up to 5.4m wide and 0.4m deep and
this is visible on all sides of the monument, although it is predominantly
preserved as a buried feature. On the north eastern side, the outer edge of
this ditch is defined by a field boundary bank and the infilled ditch has been
used in the past as a track. There is an inturned entrance on the north
eastern side which measures 7m wide, and the inturned banks are up to 2.2m
wide and 0.4m high. The enclosure is crossed by a parish boundary bank which
measures up to 2m wide and 1.5m high, and has been partially cut at the north
eastern corner by a quarry, approximately 20m long, 15m wide and up to 2.8m
deep, which lies to the north of the entrance. A further quarry lies to the
south of the parish boundary bank, on the western side of the enclosure and
measures 8.7m long, 5.3m wide and up to 1m deep. A third quarry lies to the
north west and has partially cut into the ditch and rampart on this side;
however much of this quarry lies just beyond the monument itself. A further
entrance to the enclosure may lie on the western side, where the rampart is
seen to kink slightly inwards.
The stock proof fences around the rampart and ditch, the gates and gateposts
which facilitate access, the Ordnance Survey triangulation point which is
situated on the north eastern side of the enclosure just above the quarry, and
the field boundary bank which defines the outer edge of the ditch in the north
eastern corner are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath
all these features is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Slight univallate hillforts are defined as enclosures of various shapes,
generally between 1ha and 10ha in size, situated on or close to hilltops and
defined by a single line of earthworks, the scale of which is relatively
small. They date to between the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age (eighth -
fifth centuries BC), the majority being used for 150 to 200 years prior to
their abandonment or reconstruction. Slight univallate hillforts have
generally been interpreted as stock enclosures, redistribution centres, places
of refuge and permanent settlements. The earthworks generally include a
rampart, narrow level berm, external ditch and counterscarp bank, while access
to the interior is usually provided by two entrances comprising either simple
gaps in the earthwork or an inturned rampart. Postholes revealed by excavation
indicate the occasional presence of portal gateways while more elaborate
features like overlapping ramparts and outworks are limited to only a few
examples. Internal features included timber or stone round houses; large
storage pits and hearths; scattered postholes, stakeholes and gullies; and
square or rectangular buildings supported by four to six posts, often
represented by postholes, and interpreted as raised granaries. Slight
univallate hillforts are rare with around 150 examples recorded nationally.
Although on a national scale the number is low, in Devon they comprise one of
the major classes of hillfort. In other areas where the distribution is
relatively dense, for example, Wessex, Sussex, the Cotswolds and the
Chilterns, hillforts belonging to a number of different classes occur within
the same region. Examples are also recorded in eastern England, the Welsh
Marches, central and southern England. In view of the rarity of slight
univallate hillforts and their importance in understanding the transition
between Bronze Age and Iron Age communities, all examples which survive
comparatively well and have potential for the recovery of further
archaeological remains are believed to be of national importance.

Huntsham Castle, despite a brief episode of limited quarrying has remained
largely intact. Undoubtedly, its prominent location has ensured that it has
continued to be an important local landmark; this is clearly indicated by the
presence of a parish boundary which crosses it from east to west. The monument
will contain archaeological information relating to both its construction and
use, as well as environmental evidence concerning the local area at the time
of the hillfort's occupation.

Source: Historic England


Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SS91NE2, (1997)

Source: Historic England

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